Jerry Huntsinger tutorials

This special showcase within the direct mail section of SOFII comprises a complete series of tutorials from the dean of direct mail fundraising, the USA’s legendary Jerry Huntsinger. In 86 parts this insightful, practical series is building, over time, into the complete step-by-step guide to direct mail fundraising.

Tutorial 29: slash your letter writing time in half.

by Jerry Huntsinger

I’m assuming that you are already familiar with the basic mechanical techniques for creating a fundraising letter. On the other hand, if you don’t know the first thing about writing a fundraising letter, read on anyway. I’ll show you how easy it is and how much fun you can have doing it.

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Tutorial 28: is it time to get rid of ‘dear friend’?

by Jerry Huntsinger

Is there a better way to get off to a good start when writing a form letter? Here are some alternatives you may wish to consider. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether any or all of them are good, bad, or just plain ridiculous.

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Tutorial 27: a good start.

by Jerry Huntsinger

Learn how to edit your letters and begin with that great emotion that often only surfaces until page two.

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Tutorial 26: how to make a short letter work.

by Jerry Huntsinger

Find out how to write successful short letters with these 10 helpful rules.

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Tutorial 25: 22 ideas for keeping your reader moving on.

by Jerry Huntsinger

Keep in mind these principles when you write long letters.

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Tutorial 24: how to write a long letter.

by Jerry Huntsinger

Extensive testing by a wide variety of charities shows that long copy wins most of the time, especially for prospect mail and emotional house appeals. Of course, there are exceptions and it’s always best to test. Read more here.

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Tutorial 23: beware the fatal disease of one-sidedness.

by Jerry Huntsinger

In this amusing, yet thought-provoking article, Jerry comments on a not-so-new affliction that affects many fundraisers…are you one of them?

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Tutorial 22: whatever happened to real stories about real people?

by Jerry Huntsinger

You are probably going to have more successes than failures if you begin most of your letters with an illustration. Your readers are usually in neutral when the letter is being scanned; but once they get involved in the story, then suddenly you have captured their attention.

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Tutorial 21: ‘really, it just doesn’t sound like me’.

by Jerry Huntsinger

Once upon a time I wrote a letter for the president of a nonprofit organisation and I thought it turned out rather well – that is, until she sent me this crisp critique: ‘I really don’t like this letter because it just doesn’t sound like me.’ Sigh. How many times have I heard that? So, dutifully, I called her and asked: ‘What do you sound like?’ She paused.

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Tutorial 20 - paragraphs: forget school English.

by Jerry Huntsinger

You were taught in school that a proper paragraph had a beginning, a middle and an end. It was a self-contained idea. And that’s true, when you write a school exam.

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Major contributors to this section

Jerry Huntsinger

Jerry Huntsinger is revered in direct marketing circles as the dean of direct mail. 

Some years back Jerry gifted his archive of direct mail tutorials to SOFII and we’ve been serialising them ever since. All 50-plus are gems. Together, they add up to complete ‘how-to’ guide to everything you need to know about direct mail fundraising.

These tutorials are edited and presented by Gwen Chapman.

Gwen Chapman is a passionate advocate for donor-centric fundraising. She is a senior consultant with international experience in the non-profit sector in Canada, the United States, the UK and South Africa.

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Gwen Chapman

The Jerry Huntsinger Tutorials are edited and presented by Gwen Chapman.

Gwen Chapman is a passionate advocate for donor-centric fundraising. She is a senior consultant with international experience in the non-profit sector in Canada, the United States, the UK and South Africa.

See all